2/18/2008

Resistance Is Futile

9 comments:

Hope-A-Dope said...

"When the Magic Fades"

By DAVID BROOKS
Published: February 19, 2008
New York Times

At first it seemed like a few random cases of lassitude among Mary Chapin Carpenter devotees in Berkeley, Cambridge and Chapel Hill. But then psychotherapists began to realize patients across the country were complaining of the same distress. They were experiencing the first hints of what’s bound to be a national phenomenon: Obama Comedown Syndrome.

The afflicted had already been through the phases of Obama-mania — fainting at rallies, weeping over their touch screens while watching Obama videos, spending hours making folk crafts featuring Michelle Obama’s face. These patients had experienced intense surges of hope-amine, the brain chemical that fuels euphoric sensations of historic change and personal salvation.

But they found that as the weeks went on, they needed more and purer hope-injections just to preserve the rush. They wound up craving more hope than even the Hope Pope could provide, and they began experiencing brooding moments of suboptimal hopefulness. Anxious posts began to appear on the Yes We Can! Facebook pages. A sense of ennui began to creep through the nation’s Ian McEwan-centered book clubs.

Up until now The Chosen One’s speeches had seemed to them less like stretches of words and more like soul sensations that transcended time and space. But those in the grips of Obama Comedown Syndrome began to wonder if His stuff actually made sense. For example, His Hopeness tells rallies that we are the change we have been waiting for, but if we are the change we have been waiting for then why have we been waiting since we’ve been here all along?

As the syndrome progresses, they begin to ask questions about The Presence himself:

Barack Obama vowed to abide by the public finance campaign-spending rules in the general election if his opponent did. But now he’s waffling on his promise. Why does he need to check with his campaign staff members when deciding whether to keep his word?

Obama says he is practicing a new kind of politics, but why has his PAC sloshed $698,000 to the campaigns of the superdelegates, according to the Center for Responsive Politics? Is giving Robert Byrd’s campaign $10,000 the kind of change we can believe in?

If he values independent thinking, why is his the most predictable liberal vote in the Senate? A People for the American Way computer program would cast the same votes for cheaper.

And should we be worried about Obama’s mountainous self-confidence?

These doubts lead O.C.S. sufferers down the path to the question that is the Unholy of the Unholies for Obama-maniacs: How exactly would all this unity he talks about come to pass?

How is a 47-year-old novice going to unify highly polarized 70-something committee chairs? What will happen if the nation’s 261,000 lobbyists don’t see the light, even after the laying on of hands? Does The Changemaker have the guts to take on the special interests in his own party — the trial lawyers, the teachers’ unions, the AARP?

The Gang of 14 created bipartisan unity on judges, but Obama sat it out. Kennedy and McCain created a bipartisan deal on immigration. Obama opted out of the parts that displeased the unions. Sixty-eight senators supported a bipartisan deal on FISA. Obama voted no.

Hope-A-Dope said...

"Cult of Obama Will Turn Off Independents"
By Froma Harrop

Despite the hard contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, party leaders keep telling Democratic-leaning voters that they have two good candidates. They are right, but one of them may well be a Republican.

Far from the pumped-up Obama rallies, centrists who voted for John Kerry last time now say they are considering John McCain -- especially if the Democrat is the vaporous Obama. At least that's what many are telling me -- and I'm telling myself.

One friend said he'd vote for the New York senator, and if she's not the candidate, then McCain. When I reminded him that he doesn't like Hillary, he shrugged. Another acquaintance e-mailed, "Hillary is to me extremely unlikable, but I do not regard likability as a qualification."

The notion that many Clinton voters cannot be easily transferred to Obama contradicts much "expert" opinion. But a Super Tuesday exit poll suggested there is something to it. While 52 percent of Obama's supporters were amenable to a Clinton candidacy, only 49 percent of Clinton voters said they'd be happy with the Illinois senator, according to the survey by Harvard University's Institute of Politics.

And at that time, the news media were still lavishing love on Obama. That situation is about to end. "He's the fashion plate of the moment," an editorial page editor remarked, "but fashion week is over."

Sophisticated commentary now notes the growing creepiness of the Obama campaign: Its aversion to substantive policy discussions. The sermonizing -- "In the face of despair, we believe there can be hope." And the messianic bit -- "At this moment in the election there is something happening in America." (That would be he.)

Volunteer trainees at Camp Obama are told not to talk issues with voters, but to offer personal testimony about how they "came" to Obama. Makes the skin crawl.

Centrists generally do not find cults of personality entertaining. The mass hypnosis reminds them of the mortgage frenzy -- all these people buying into a dream and not caring about the fine print.

The Republican Party, meanwhile, has given them a choice. This is despite the best efforts of its right wing to pick a candidate against whom any Democrat would be better. And the more the radicals beat up on the Arizona senator, the more he looks like a contender to moderate Democrats.

Why might this group like McCain? Count the ways. He had the fiscal discipline to vote against the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, and the decency to complain that they unfairly favored the rich. He's OK on the environment, concerned over global warming and against oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He supported tighter fuel-economy standards and opposes torture. John McCain is not an embarrassment.

Of course, much could happen before November. To try to make up with the right, McCain might hedge on the very positions that moderates admire. He's already vowed to make permanent the tax cuts he once opposed.

And there's the war in Iraq. McCain courageously slammed the Bush administration's early handling of it, and the troop surge he supported has calmed things in Iraq, at least for now. But he has yet to adequately explain why going to Iraq was ever a good idea.

On the Democratic side, Clinton might prevail and thus offer a serious alternative to McCain. Or Obama might decide to get serious and apply critical thinking to real issues in a way that appeals to wonky centrists.

What Democrats must understand is that their moderates now have another candidate to consider. And this slice of the electorate is big enough and grumpy enough to swing a general election to John McCain.

Hope-A-Dope said...

"She Said What?"
John Podhoretz
February 18, 2008

Michelle Obama today said that “for the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country. And not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change. I have been desperate to see our country moving in that direction.”

Really proud of her country for the first time? Michelle Obama is 44 years old. She has been an adult since 1982. Can it really be there has not been a moment during that time when she felt proud of her country? Forget matters like the victory in the Cold War; how about only things that have made liberals proud — all the accomplishments of inclusion? How about the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1991? Or Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s elevation to the Supreme Court? Or Carol Moseley Braun’s election to the Senate in 1998? How about the merely humanitarian, like this country’s startling generosity to the victims of the tsunami? I’m sure commenters can think of hundreds more landmarks of this sort. Didn’t she even get a twinge from, say, the Olympics?

Mrs. Obama was speaking at a campaign rally, so it is easy to assume she was merely indulging in hyperbole. Even so, it is very revealing.

It suggests, first, that the pseudo-messianic nature of the Obama candidacy is very much a part of the way the Obamas themselves are feeling about it these days. If they don’t get a hold of themselves, the family vanity is going to swell up to the size of Phileas Fogg’s hot-air balloon and send the two of them soaring to heights of self-congratulatory solipsism that we’ve never seen before.

Second, it suggests the Obama campaign really does have its roots in New Class leftism, according to which patriotism is not only the last refuge of a scoundrel, but the first refuge as well — that America is not fundamentally good but flawed, but rather fundamentally flawed and only occasionally good. There’s something for John McCain to work with here.

And third, that Michelle Obama — from the middle-class South Shore neighborhood of Chicago, Princeton 85, Harvard Law 88, associate at Sidley and Austin, and eventually a high-ranking official at the University of Chicago — may not be proud of her country, but her life, like her husband’s, gives me every reason to be even prouder of the United States.

Sunny Badger said...

John Podhoretz -- neocon:
Podhoretz has contributed to a number of conservative publications, including National Review and the Weekly Standard, where he is the magazine's deputy editor and movie critic. He was also a consulting editor at ReganBooks, a former imprint of HarperCollins. Podhoretz has a regular column at the New York Post. He has also appeared on television as a political commentator, on Fox News, CNN's Reliable Sources, and The McLaughlin Group (in the chair usually occupied by conservative Tony Blankley), among other places. He has also worked at Time, the Washington Times, Insight, and U.S. News & World Report. Podhoretz was a contributor to The Corner, a group blog run by National Review.


David Brooks - neocon:
Before the Iraq War, Brooks had argued forcefully on moral grounds for American military intervention, echoing the belief of neoconservative commentators and political figures that American and British forces would be welcomed as liberators. However, some of his opinion pieces in the spring of 2004 suggested that he had tempered somewhat his earlier optimism about the war. In 2007, he argued that withdrawing from Iraq would result in 10,000 Iraqi deaths a month, but later admitted on Meet the Press that he had "just picked that 10,000 out of the air."[1]

David Brooks was a visiting professor of public policy at Duke University's Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, and he taught an undergraduate seminar there in the fall of 2006.

Hope Monger said...

Gee Golly Hope a Dope,

Isn't this the Same David Brooks who appears on that useless Public Television News Hour? You know the that Socialist TV Network that President Bush continually tries to cut the budget for?
Yeah I thought so.

Anonymous said...

Lets look at Obama and Gun Control. His record isn't likely to win many Wisconsin "pro-gun" voters who recoil at assaults on their 2nd Amendment rights. From the Chicago Defender, Dec. 13, 1999:

"Sweeping federal gun control legislation proposed by Sen. Barack Obama (D-13th) would increase the penalties on gun runners who are flooding Chicago's streets with illegal weapons.

At an anti-gun rally held at the Park Manor Christian Church, 600 E. 73rd St., headed by the Rev. James Demus, Obama also said he's backing a resolution being introduced into the City Council by Alds. Toni Preckwinkle (4th), Ted Thomas (15th), Leslie Hairston (5th) to call for a "shot-free" millennium celebration.

Obama outlined his anti-gun plan that includes increased penalties for the interstate transportation of firearms. The maximum penalty now for bringing a gun across the border is 10 years in prison. Obama is proposing to make it a felony for a gun owner whose firearm was stolen from his residence which causes harm to another person if that weapon was not securely stored in that home. [!!!]

He's proposing restricting gun purchases to one weapon a month and banning the sale of firearms at gun shows except for "antique" weapons. Obama is also proposing increasing the licensing fee to obtain a federal firearms license.

He's also seeking a ban on police agencies from reselling their used weapons even if those funds are used to buy more state-of-the-art weapons for their agencies. Obama wants only those over 21 who've passed a basic course to be able to buy or own a firearm.

He's proposing that all federally licensed gun dealers sell firearms in a storefront and not from their homes while banning their business from being within five miles of a school or a park. He's also banning the sale of 'junk" handguns like the popular Saturday Night Specials.

Obama is requiring that all people working at a gun dealer undergo a criminal background check. He's also asking that gun manufacturers be required to develop safety measures that permit only the original owner of the firearm to operate the weapon purchased.

Additionally, he wants an increase of the funds for schools to teach anger management skills for youth between the ages of 5-13. Obama is also seeking to increase the federal taxes by 500 percent on the sale of firearm, ammunition [sic] -- weapons he says are most commonly used in firearm deaths."

His policy preferences are slowly starting to come out. But if you still like him, well, embrace the appellation: OBAMABORG!

Musketeer said...

Hi guess embracing common sense makes you a borg.

I didn't really think I needed to buy that 13th Ak47 last year anyway.

Anonymous said...

Musketeer,

So let me get this straight: Some CRIMINAL breaks into your home and steals your firearms, then that CRIMINAL uses said stolen firearm to cause harm to another, and you, the burglary victim, are subject to felony prosecution? And you call that common sense? Get real.

And no gun shops within 5 miles of a park or school? Well, that little piece of "common sense" would put every small town gunshop in America out of business. Thousands of them. Common Sense?

And a 500% tax on firearms and Ammunition? The term confiscatory taxation comes to mind. Common sense does not.

But hey, if you like all that "common sense," and find nothing extradinary or extreme in any it, by all means you should get (or stay) assimilated.

My point,however, is that there are lot gun owners in Wisconsin (not to mention the rest of the country) who may well find such extreme policy proposals all the reason they need to pull the lever for someone else next November.

Musketeer said...

anon,

More than one gun for every man, woman, and child in America? That's common sense? The police who are the people we as a society rely on to enforce our laws, being outgunned by a bunch of thugs with assault weapons? That's common sense?
You and the NRA answer is "don't tread on my 2nd Amendment rights" . Well any idiot can see that there's a problem with too many guns in the wrong hands. Your solution, let get more guns. Doesn't seem to be working does it?
Plus, we're in a semi rural area with lots of sportsmen. Fine, you want your sports weapons, no reason to prohibit them. You don't need to buy 13 assault rifles a year. And you have the never to call me and extremist? I can do without that kind of common sense.